Apparently James Squire was an Australian convict (of course) that is supposed to have opened the first commercial brewery in Australia. Today, the Maltshovel brewery in Sydney uses the name for their beers and I was quite happy when I came across bars serving the beers among all the other boring lagers.
Malt Shovel is a microbrewery, though one owned by the Lion group which is responsible for brands such as Castlemaine XXXX and Tooheys.
Nine Tales Amber ale was one of my first beers on arriving in Australia, actually I believe it was my second Australian beer. It's a nice amber ale with hints of chocolate, caramel and a little nuttiness. It's not going to blow your mind but it's a rather nice beer.
Jack of spades porter is a little more interesting (only just). The aroma is full of caramel, nuts, coffee and a little fruit. This is all present in when you taste it but once you get over the burnt bitter taste, what you are left with is a weak and watery porter that is a little too fizzy for my liking.
I also at some point had the Golden Ale called The Chancer. There is little to be said for it other than it's a great thirst quencher.
In conclusion, if you find yourself in a bar and your choice is either one of the many pale yellow fizzy lagers you find in every Australian bar, or a James Squire ale, you could do a lot worse than order the James Squire beer. They may not be exciting, but they are pretty good beers and far more interesting than the likes of Tooheys New.